Keeping Your Furry Friends Slender and Healthy

Learn about the signs your pet might be overweight and what you should do to rein in their eating.

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It can be hard to resist the cute and ever-hungry face of your pet, but too much food can lead to some serious problems. Like people, pets can end up with health problems if they’re eating too much and their weight is out of control. Diabetes, joint damage, heart disease, trouble breathing, liver issues, and a shorter life can all be caused by animal obesity, which is why it’s important keep their weight within an ideal range.

How do I know if my pet is overweight?

Ideal weight is going to depend on the type and size of the pet. Cats and dogs can vary in size significantly depending on breed, so their weight should be appropriate for their usual size. Here are a few quick assessments you can use for dogs and cats.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, in healthy dogs and cats:

  • You should be able to easily feel ribs.
  • There should be no sagging stomach.
  • You should be able to see a clear waist when your pet is viewed from above.

You should worry about weight if:

  • You have trouble feeling your pet’s ribs.
  • You see a clearly sagging stomach.
  • The back is broad and flat.
  • No waist is obvious when viewed from above.

If you’re unsure whether your pet has a weight problem, check with your vet.

What do I do if my pet is overweight?

Exercise and diet are important for your pets. Your pet needs regular, daily exercise proportionate to their age and size. They also need food proportionate to their age and size. Remember, your pet is probably a lot smaller than you are. Don’t use yourself as a benchmark when it comes to feeding your pet and deciding what they need to stay healthy!

Most pet foods will come with recommendations for how much your pet should eat. You can also follow these guidelines about how many calories your pet should be getting each day. Remember, that includes any snacks they might be getting. Finally, be sure to talk to your vet about how much your pet should be eating, especially if you have concerns about their weight.